Obama takes first step toward 2008 presidential bid
Jan 16, 2007, 16:25 GMT
Washington - US Senator Barack Obama, a fast-rising African- American politician, said Tuesday he was taking the first step toward seeking the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination.
Obama, 45, said he had decided to launch a committee to explore a presidential bid, a move that lets him launch a campaign organization, raise money and recruit campaign staffers.
Polls currently show Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and a white American mother, as the main rival of fellow Senator Hillary Clinton to lead their left-of-centre party's bid to retake the White House when President George W Bush leaves in January 2009.
Clinton, the wife of former president Bill Clinton, has made no official move toward a campaign, but she is widely expected to run. Obama said he would officially announce on February 10 whether he will pursue his bid.
In a video message on the website of Chicago television station WMAQ, the senator from Illinois said people had encouraged him to run and alluded to his meteoric rise to political stardom.
'Running for the presidency is a profound decision. I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago,' he said. 'I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.'
US President George W Bush has 'put our country in a precarious place' and led Americans into a 'tragic and costly war that should never have been waged,' Obama said, referring to the war in Iraq.
The ideological divide between Democrats and Bush's Republicans is keeping the country from solving its 'enormous challenges,' Obama said.
'That's what we have to change first: We have to change our politics. We have to come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans,' Obama said.
In the video, he said he was filing papers for an exploratory committee Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission, the first formal step toward a presidential bid.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur